Nina Fedoroff

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Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff
Born 1942
Nationality American
Fields Biology
Alma mater

Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff (born 1942) is an American molecular biologist known for her research in life sciences and biotechnology, especially transposable elements or jumping genes.[1] and plant stress response.[2][3] In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded her the National Medal of Science, she is also a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[2] the European Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology.[4]

Early days

Fedoroff, whose father was an immigrant to the USA and her mother a first generation immigrant, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her first language was Russian.[5] When she was nine years old her family moved to Fayetteville, in Central New York.

She then relocated to Philadelphia where she planned to study music but returned to study science at Syracuse University not far from Fayetteville.[5] She graduated summa cum laude in 1966 from Syracuse University with a dual major in biology and chemistry.[6] She received her PhD in molecular biology 1972 from The Rockefeller University.[7]

Research career

After graduating from Rockefeller University[when?] she joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she did research into nuclear RNA.[8] She moved[when?] to the Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore, Maryland, worked on developmental biology at the Department of Embryology, where she pioneered DNA sequencing and worked out the nucleotide sequence of the first complete gene.[8] In 1978, she became a staff member at the Carnegie Institute and joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University Biology Department, where she worked on the molecular characterization of maize transposable elements or jumping genes, for which Barbara McClintock was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983.[8]

Academic positions

In 1995, Fedoroff arrived at Pennsylvania State University as the Verne M. Willaman professor of Life Sciences and founded and directed the organization now known as the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.[9] In 2002, she was appointed an Evan Pugh professor, the university's highest academic honor.[7][10] In 2013 Federoff was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST),[11] and a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute.[4][8]


In 1990, Fedoroff was honored with the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award from University of Chicago,[9] and in 1992 she received the New York Academy of Sciences Outstanding Contemporary Women Scientist Award.[9] In 1997, Fedoroff received the John P. McGovern Science and Society Medal from Sigma Xi.[7] In 2003, she was awarded Syracuse University's George Arents Pioneer medal.[7]

In 2001, President Bill Clinton appointed Fedoroff to the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation.[9] which administers the science awards. Fedoroff was Science and Technology Adviser to U.S. Secretaries of State, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton[12] and from 2007 to 2010 to the administrator Rajiv Shah for the United States Agency for International Development.[13] In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded her the National Medal of Science in the field of Biological Sciences, the highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research in the United States.[9] Fedoroff was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 2011 to 2012.[14] She is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[2] the European Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology.[4]

Private life

Fedoroff has three children and seven grandchildren. She enjoys music, theatre and singing.[3][5]


  • Nina Fedoroff, The Dynamic Genome: Barbara McClintock's Ideas in the Century of Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Pr, 1992, ISBN 9780879694227
  • Nina Fedoroff, Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods, National Academy Press, 2004, ISBN 0-309-09205-1
  • Nina Fedoroff, Plant Transposons and Genome Dynamics in Evolution, Barnes & Noble, Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated, 2013, ISBN 9781118500101

See also


  1. Dreifus, Claudia (18 August 2008) A Conversation with Nina V. Fedoroff The New York Times, Science section, Retrieved 14 may 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Friedberg, E. C. (2008). "Nina Fedoroff". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 9 (10): 744. doi:10.1038/nrm2511. PMID 18819172.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Elder, Andy (Fall 2002) Faces of Penn State, 2002: Nina Fedoroff Pennsylvania State University, PennState Eberly College of Science, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fagan, Adam (22 February 2011) Plant Biologist Nina Fedoroff Assumes AAAS Presidency American Society of Plant Biologists, Press release, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Nina Fedoroff, Class of 1960, Inducted in 2009 Fayette-Manlius Schools Hall of Distinction Inductees, Retrieved 2 March 2014
  6. "Women in science and University Syracuse University - Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff". Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 13210. 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Staff, Biography Nina V. Fedoroff Special Adviser Science and Technology U.S. Department of State, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 (2013) Santa Fe Institute - Nina Fedoroff Web page of the Santa Fe Institute, Retrieved 12 August 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Staff, Fedoroff to Receive National Medal of Science Pennsylvania State University, PennState Eberly College of Science, 2007 News, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  10. Staff, Nina Fedoroff; Willaman Professor of Life Sciences; Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Biology The Huck Institute of Life Sciences, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  11. (2013)Nina Fedoroff: Director, Center for Desert Agriculture, Distinguished Professor, Bioscience Faculty of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Retrieved 12 August 2013
  12. Pincus, Erica (22 December 2014). "The Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State". Science & Diplomacy. 3 (4).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Staff, Nina Fedoroff, Professor of Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University The Economist Conferences 2012, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  14. "Nina Fedoroff: 21st-Century Challenges Require Global Focus by Scientists". Science. 331 (6016): 422–425. 28 January 2011. Bibcode:2011Sci...331..422.. doi:10.1126/science.331.6016.422.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links